Photographic proof that my neighbors are insane

Over the many Mental moons I've spent blogging here, one of two things has happened: either my neighbors have gone crazy at an alarmingly rapid rate, or I've just begun to notice their quirks more, in a way that only having to write about something interesting every single day will do to a person. Luckily, my phone takes relatively decent pictures, so I'm usually ready when weirdness strikes. In case you've missed the saga, here's a little bit of what it's like to live in Venice, California:

Child labor laws aren't so strict
That is, at least, according to flyers like this one found on a telephone pole down the street. Still not sure how many parents took the bait on this one, and if so whether or not they ever got their kids back. Hope so!

Even the signs can't get along
A beleaguered Rodney King famously once pleaded with the warring people of Los Angeles, begging "Can't we all just get along?" I think this unfortunate juxtaposition of signage I found in front of Venice high school just says it all. (The bus stop sign was part of an Oscars ad campaign.)

These sidewalks ain't for poopin'
If you think you can just let your dog poop anywhere around here -- especially on my street -- you've got another thing coming. Like a sarcastically cheery note written in kids' sidewalk chalk. Poop's never looked so nice.

What's that smell?
We never did figure this one out. The house is for sale now. Coincidence?sign.JPG

Long before the Simpsons movie, there was ...
My neighbor's car. In fact, my neighborhood is full of so-called "art cars" (also known as "unsellable" cars), which might just be a way for people to ensure their cars are never stolen. Toyota Camrys all look alike, but there's only one Simpsons

Stradivarius Violins Get Their Distinctive Sound By Mimicking the Human Voice

Italian violinist Francesco Geminiani once wrote that a violin's tone should "rival the most perfect human voice." Nearly three centuries later, scientists have confirmed that some of the world's oldest violins do in fact mimic aspects of the human singing voice, a finding which scientists believe proves "the characteristic brilliance of Stradivari violins."

Using speech analysis software, scientists in Taiwan compared the sound produced by 15 antique instruments with recordings of 16 male and female vocalists singing English vowel sounds, The Guardian reports. They discovered that violins made by Andrea Amati and Antonio Stradivari, the pioneers of the instrument, produce similar "formant features" as the singers. The resonance frequencies were similar between Amati violins and bass and baritone singers, while the higher-frequency tones produced by Stradivari instruments were comparable to tenors and contraltos.

Andrea Amati, born in 1505, was the first known violin maker. His design was improved over 100 years later by Antonio Stradivari, whose instruments now sell for several million dollars. "Some Stradivari violins clearly possess female singing qualities, which may contribute to their perceived sweetness and brilliance," Hwan-Ching Tai, an author of the study, told The Guardian.

Their findings were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. A 2013 study by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary, a professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, also pointed to a link between the sounds produced by 250-year-old violins and those of a female soprano singer.

According to Vox, a blind test revealed that professional violinists couldn't reliably tell the difference between old violins like "Strads" and modern ones, with most even expressing a preference for the newer instruments. However, the value of these antique instruments can be chalked up to their rarity and history, and many violinists still swear by their exceptional quality.

[h/t The Guardian]

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